Garmin's Forerunner 255 and 745 are the same cheap Cyber Monday price; there's one obvious choice

Garmin Forerunner 745
The Garmin Forerunner 745 (Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)

Garmin's numbering system for its Forerunners can be unnecessarily complicated. So when the Garmin Forerunner 745 ($150 off) is $249, but the Forerunner 255 ($100 off) is also $249, it can be a little confusing which Cyber Monday deal you should buy. 

Because these deals are selling out quickly before the official Cyber Monday launch, I won't waste your time with any more preamble: the 2020 Forerunner 745 is technically a higher-end model than the 2022 Forerunner 255, but the new software and tech built into the 255 make it the better purchase. If you want a relatively cheap Garmin running watch, choose the 255. 

Garmin Forerunner 255: $349 $249 at Best Buy | $249 at Garmin

Garmin Forerunner 255: $349 $249 at Best Buy | $249 at Garmin

As the person who reviewed the Forerunner 255, I can't stress enough how great it is to get perks like dual-frequency GPS, 2-week battery life, HRV status, Morning Report, recovery recommendations, and other useful tools for just $250. I can only hope Garmin adds Training Readiness in a future OTA update, its one biggest missing feature. 

To be clear, the Forerunner 255 and 745 are both very similar watches in software features. They both track the training effect of aerobic or anaerobic runs, your current training load, your performance condition, and your predicted race pace based on your VO2 Max. You can follow Garmin Coach workouts or daily suggested workouts, based on your current recovery time. 

Also, in very specific areas, the Forerunner 745 wins: it has 4GB of built-in music storage and wi-fi downloads, while you have to pay $50 more for the 255 Music version for both perks. And it uses a better Gorilla Glass DX protective material, instead of Gorilla Glass 3 on the Forerunner 255. 

Otherwise, though, the Forerunner 255 handily beats the 745 in key areas. For starters, it lasts 2 weeks per charge, twice as long as the 745. It has dual-frequency GPS or all-systems GNSS for super-accurate tracking — something I noted in my review — while the 745 only uses one GNSS at a time. 

Quick menus on the Garmin Forerunner 255

The Garmin Forerunner 255 (Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

Plus, the Forerunner 255 lasts 30 hours in GPS-only mode or 16 in dual-band mode, while the Forerunner 745 lasts 16 hours max with GPS-only. This similarity only makes the gap between them even more obvious.

The 255 has wrist-based running dynamics and power readings, while the 745 needs a Pod accessory. While both weigh about the same, the 255 has a larger display (1.3-inch vs. 1.2-inch) and a second petite 255S option (1.1-inch) if you want something lighter. 

It also gives you perks like heart rate variance (HRV) readings for stress data and better Body Battery scores, Pacepro, race-adjusted training plans, multisport modes for triathletes, acute load data to judge your weekly load against your body's optimal range, and a bunch of other new perks that the older 745 processor can't handle. 

If you don't care about music storage, the Forerunner 255 wins. If you do care, you can technically choose the Forerunner 745 to save $50, but the $299 Forerunner 255 Music ($100 off) is a much more future-proofed purchase that's probably worth spending a little extra. 

Otherwise, I've gathered the other best Garmin Cyber Monday deals still live, including other Forerunner models like the 265 and 965 that'll give you better perks than either the 255 or 745, but for a much higher price. 

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, Wearables & AR/VR

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on wearables and fitness. Before joining Android Central, he freelanced for years at Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, and Digital Trends. Channeling his love of running, he established himself as an expert on fitness watches, testing and reviewing models from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, Suunto, and more.